British Shorthair 101: The Essential Guide

OriginGreat Britain
Height           12-14 inches
Weight7-17 pounds
Life Expectancy15 years
Breed GroupPedigree
Affection Level⭐⭐
Activity Level
Meowing Level⭐⭐
Pet Friendly⭐⭐⭐
Easy to Groom⭐⭐⭐
Easy to Train⭐⭐


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The British Shorthair is native to England and he is perhaps one of the most easily identifiable cat breeds in the world. His short but thick fur has been the result of adjusting to the weather conditions present to his place of origin. This appearance led to millions of people falling in love with him!

You might have not noticed but most of us actually grew up with the British Shorthair. Puss in Boots closely resembles the British Shorthair and the all-time favorite Alice in Wonderland features the Cheshire cat which is believed to have been inspired by the British Shorthair as well.

It was during the Victorian era when selective breeding was emphasized to produce a more distinguishable Shorthair from the more defined Russian type. It eventually resulted in the development of the “English type” or the “British Blue”. Moreover, when his popularity declined, breeders mixed Persians into his bloodline thus resulting in what eventually would become the basis for the British Longhair.

Later on, the history of two world wars almost wiped out the British Shorthair breed, but thanks to the determination of dedicated cat breeders, this tabby has been reinvigorated. Until now, the British Shorthair remains to be a popular choice for many family homes worldwide.


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Relatively, this large-sized cat has a broad chest, fluffy body, and thick, powerful legs. His paws are round and his tail is blunt-tipped. He has large and rounded eyes that can express all his emotions without losing his adorableness. Broad cheeks are more common in mature males and both genders share the same large ears.

Their eyes are usually coppery to orange in color, but this will largely depend on their coat type. Many cat lovers who are new to this breed might get easily confused with the British Blue Shorthair and the Scottish Fold. However, if you look closely at their ears, you will notice that the British cat has triangular and pointy ears. The Scottish, on the other hand, has folded lugs. 

Coat & Color

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The coat oftentimes becomes the trademark of the British Shorthair. Not only is it dense, but it also doesn’t have any undercoats. The texture disagrees with the appearance as his fur feels rather plushy than fluffy. As the cat moves, you will see how his coat breaks over the cat’s body. Just by looking at it, you’d immediately understand that he has a really thick coat that’ll feel satisfying when you squish his chubby cheeks.

As for the colors and patterns, this cat comes in a variety! Check out these wide options:

WhiteClassic Tabby
Red Spotted
ChocolateVan Patterns Bi-color & White
Dilute LilacSmoke

Size & weight

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Full-grown British Shorthair cats are naturally large. However, the measure of their size would vary depending on if it is a male or a female. To see the comparison, check out the table below:

Male British Shorthair9 to 17 pounds12 to 14 inches
Female British Shorthair7 to 12 pounds12 to 14 inches


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The British Shorthair is a dignified breed who prefers to stay indoors and lay around in his favorite spots such as the carpets or at his towers. Described to be easygoing, the owners of this breed find him to be a perfect family companion due to his innate sweetness. Even though he likes receiving attention back from his owners, this cat does not like being lifted off the ground or placed on anyone’s lap. This is because he likes to sit next to his family members and would rather feel the ground with his feet.

Unlike many other cat breeds, the British Shorthair is strong and independent. He can be left alone on his own for 1 to 3 days although, of course, this is not recommended. Whenever his owner has to leave for work, he will behave quietly and mind his business until his human gets back. 


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Animal trainers have a deep liking for this British kitty. He is naturally devoted to his owners and would spend his time equally to all. This plushy cat tends to have a rock-solid relationship with people who live alone. That’s why he’s a popular choice to elders or to teens who are alone in an apartment. 

You can easily tell if your live teddy cat loves you. This, of course, requires you to be more observant as his clues are not at all the most obvious. However, once you become fluent with his body language, you’ll get to learn what he is trying to communicate to you.

You can say that this cat is extremely low-key. During the daytime, he will usually be lurking somewhere with his eyes half-closed, but in reality, he is alert and conscious about what’s going on around him. He delights it if he is with you while you do your daily activities. If you are out and about in your garden, he will jump off his cat tower and go with you. 

His affection will also manifest through his tender purring. His subtle loving behavior is unique as he can start purring even if he just lays near your feet. However, you should already decipher it as his way of saying that there is contentment in you!


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His claws and fangs may be sharp, but his friendliness makes him one of the safest cat breeds to accompany your children and other family pets. His laid-back attitude can tolerate moderate physical interactions. Just remind your kids to never attempt to carry this large no-fuss cat, or it’ll change the playful atmosphere into an unpredictable one. 

British Shorthairs generally interpret this as a form of harassment rather than an act of affection. If the kids play gently with him, he’ll be motivated to create deeper relationships as the situation makes a sense of safety for the cat.

When it comes to strangers, that’s when the friendliness level starts to shrink a bit. Your cat will automatically become wary but would remain open to forming a new relationship. He will not display any aggressive behaviors but would lay low and let time help in making him adjust to the presence of a new unfamiliar face. 

Eventually, if your cat does not feel threatened in any way, he will become friendly with the stranger.

Activity Level

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The British shorthair is not as playful and active compared to other outgoing cat breeds out there. He likes to stay indoors where there is warmth and peace. Even if you leave the house door open, this fluffy-looking cat will just stare at the outside view through the open door whilst laying on his usual favorite spot. He can lay around for hours!

Despite his preference for laze, some British Shorthair owners have shared that there can be instances when their cats will exchange comfort for adventure. This happens more often when the sun is out and the environment is filled with chirping birds and blossoming flowers. 

Even with his low-energy level, don’t be surprised if it suddenly spikes up at the sight of an innocent bird or squirrel. Just like any other cat breeds, prey drive is part of him. He’ll chase and forget about his laid-back nature since he is a descendant of the working mousers.


Taking care of this popular cat breed is not that complex. Given that the British Shorthair is free-spirited, you only have to ensure that his basic needs are properly met to grant him a healthy life. Unlike canines, this round British cat does not have to be walked outside nor be taught house training. 

For owners who like low-maintenance pets, the British Shorthair is an ideal candidate!


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British Shorthairs have short fur which might make people think that their shedding rate is low. Unfortunately, the contrary is true- this cat breed sheds quite a lot! With that, your kitty needs to be groomed at least twice a week to remove excess and loose hairs. 

Don’t worry about it being such a tedious task because his coat is very easy to work with. Just think about how it will benefit his coat as each stroke promotes new hair growth and healthy skin while preventing it from tangles and mats. Also, it would be during springtime when you will have to do this more often. 

The rest of the grooming process is basic such as nail trimming. But before doing so, know your cat well. My cat doesn’t use her claws when she’s sitting on my shoulders. Even if she’s close to losing balance, she will still hesitate from using her sharp built-in weapon. With that, I decided to leave her claws alone. You may trim the nails if needed, especially if he is fond of scratching everywhere in your house.

As for hygiene, check his ears for excess wax buildup, redness, or bad smell. If they look dirty, clean them with veterinarian-recommended products. Brush his teeth frequently as well to avoid dental diseases. You can do this while he’s a kitten so he will become accustomed to this practice.

Food and Diet

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The British Shorthair kitty loves food but isn’t quite keen on the idea of exercising. This is a very bad combination that makes him prone to weight gain! As an owner, you have to keep an eye on his diet game. Although he is a large cat, his body should be mostly built up with muscles instead of fats.

One common mistake done by some owners is they feed their cats with lots of carbohydrates. This is unsafe for the British cat as he can’t properly digest a large amount of it. Instead, foods that are high in protein are desirable. In Animal Planet, you’ll surely not see any fierce felines such as a lion feeding on cow’s milk. With that in mind, carefully tailor the best and high-quality meals for your British cat as well.

Despite his high prey instinct, this cat spends most of his time indoors. Meaning, he wouldn’t be able to practice his hunting skills a lot, but his palate should remain satisfied with the taste of meat. 

To be sure that you are providing the right meals for your feline friend, you can check out if they align with the guidelines of the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) or ask for vet recommendations.


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Exercise is vital to lengthen your large cat’s life span. This is also a way to maintain a normal weight, so making him move around regularly is helpful. If your Brit is still a kitten, immediately instill a routine exercise so he’ll get used to it later on. If you raise a cat to be a couch potato, you can’t expect him to be that active once he matures because he’ll think that it’s okay to laze around.

Since, normally, cats sleep out most of the day, if your British cat sleeps too much, it is mostly a sign that something is not right with his health. To avoid the onset of issues related to prolonged immobility, always remember to keep him moving!

You can start by providing him a tower which he can climb up and down. If you have a laser, he’ll get pumped up and start catching the red dot! You can make use of toys too. Give him a toy while he’s still young so he’d have a connection with it. He will use it for games where he’ll pretend as if he caught prey. Anything that can be fun that will stimulate his bones and muscles is a great exercise activity.


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His low motivation to move as actively as most cat breeds can pose a challenge to any owner. However, the recipe for success is patience, consistency, and reward. If you are all set with the prepping, you have to ask yourself first, “What training should I give him?”. From there, you have to identify whether it is the housebreaking rules, interaction with pets and people, etc., that you will be starting with. 

Have confidence that your British moggy will eventually learn the tricks and rules. He is intelligent and can pick up new lessons as long as he is well-reinforced. Also, keep the training short but meaningful. Remember that this pet doesn’t have the patience to get moving all day long!

Health Problems

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The average lifespan of a British Shorthair according to the vet clinic data from England is 11.8 years. Further data shows that this popular cat breed will mostly enjoy a life of 10 years or more. However, even though he is generally healthy, issues may still show.

Some of the potential health problems may include:


This is when the heart muscle thickens and the blood supply becomes limited. Eventually, this will lead to heart failure.


Older cats are more prone to excessive thyroid hormone production. Once this strikes the cat, metabolism is greatly affected. Some signs of hyperthyroidism are panting, weight loss, and greasy coat.

Polycystic Kidney Disease

The British cat’s kidneys are at stake with this disease. Cysts will start to form. Sadly, there is no cure for this yet, but drugs are available to delay the development of cysts.


Arthritis largely affects older British Shorthairs. Inflamed joints can be too much to bear causing your cat to become immobile or limping until he is properly treated by your veterinarian.

If any signs of discomfort are exhibited by your plushy companion, bring him to your nearest veterinary clinic right away. One common mistake made by cat owners is ignoring the look of discomfort shown by their pet. For emergency purposes, it is highly recommended that you get pet insurance to lessen your cat’s medical costs.

Pros and Cons of Having a British Shorthair


  • Sweet and even-tempered
  • Undemanding
  • He has a shorter and dense coat
  • He can be left alone for long periods
  • Independent
  • Playful as kittens
  • Great with kids
  • Easygoing and laid-back
  • Affectionate 
  • self-grooming


  • The coat needs regular grooming and brushing
  • Tends to eat too much 
  • He is not very active
  • Not very cuddly
  • Has a mind of his own

Do Cat Associations Recognize the British Shorthair?

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Cat registries all over the world recognize the British Shorthair breed. It was during the late 1970s when this thick and round feline achieved formal recognition from both The International Cat Association (TICA) and the Cat Fanciers’ Association. During these modern times, this Briton is the most popular pedigreed cat in the United Kingdom. This was based on the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) registration of cat breeds which showed that a quarter of the kittens registered each year are British Shorthairs!


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The price will depend on whether you go for trusted sources or not. Having the guarantee that your British is healthy but comes in at a bit of an expensive price tag is better than getting him for a cheaper cost with a long list of medical bills later on. 

To give you an overview, here are the general prices of this good-natured cat:

  • Pet-only British Shorthair. A fully vaccinated and certified kitten of this kind will averagely cost you $800 to $1200. On top of that, if you are purchasing overseas, you will be needing to add an extra for the shipping fee although it is highly advised to get one from places near you. This will prevent your kitten from feeling distressed with the travel.
  • British Shorthair for cat shows. British Shorthair Cats are expensive. The British ones that are near the ideal standards will be more expensive. Expect to pay anywhere between $1300 to $3000 for a kitten. Occasionally, some breeders might give a higher price, especially if the kitten has a champion bloodline.
  • British Shorthair rescue. For only $75 to $100, you can already have a cute British cat! Not only do you give another room for a new rescue, but you are also giving a cat a new chance to be appreciated. This is the most recommended option for every cat lover who looks for a new family pet.

Where to Adopt or Buy a British Shorthair Cat

Although there are lots of available websites where you can find breeders who sell British Shorthairs, only a few are trusted. If you want to have the assurance that your cat is healthy, visit the following web links:

Adoption is great too! You’d get a Briton for a cheaper price, but surely the moments you’ll be making with him are priceless. Check out these shelter homes:

You’ll never go wrong once you settle with the British Shorthair cat. Expect to be showered with lots of his affection. Although he might take time in learning the training you instill in him, he will do whatever he can- on his terms and conditions of course!